Peter Greenway's "Eisenstein in Guanajuato" at the Istanbul Film Festival

April 12, 2015 8:48 PM

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When I met the postmodern filmmaker and painter Peter Greenaway a decade ago, he spoke vehemently about how boorish cinema has become today, focusing on telling stories while what was more interesting, he explained, was breaking apart the notion of "story" and instead exploring the multifaceted formalistic properties of cinema. Yet Greenaway's most recent film, which screened this weekend at the Istanbul Film Festival, is a story par excellence: the love story of famed Russian director Sergei Eisenstein with a handsome Mexican who happened to guide him over a ten day shoot in Mexico (funded by Upton Sinclair), a dapper guide named Palomino Cañedo who introduces him to the sensual pleasures of homo-eroticism and takes away his virginity.

It is so unusual for a Greenway film to have a narrative story that frankly it is hard to know how to react to this sensuous tale. Are we to identify with the main character, Eisenstein, and truly care about his amorous evolution? Or are we to take the love story as a pretext to enjoy a montage of f...

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